Growing up on the move: childhood experience in the Viking Age

Author(s): Dawn Hadley

Year: 2016


The involvement of children in the Viking Age migrations, and their experiences upon settlement in new regions, has been afforded little attention by archaeologists. In part this derives from the perceived paucity of evidence for children and their lives. It is also arguably because migration is generally overlooked as a facet of childhood because of an assumption that ‘the home’ is the environment in which childhood is experienced and thus this is where analytical attention is often focused. This paper will explore how we might begin to examine children in the context of Viking-Age migration, and will argue that a focus on children prompts some fundamental questions of the broad social processes that are central to the scholarly literature on migration, including acculturation, ethnogenesis and conversion, which are routinely discussed purely with reference to adults. As Jane Eva Baxter has recently observed, ‘culture is learned and not inherited, making studies of children and childhood among the most natural areas of interest for all anthropologists’; nowhere is this more relevant than to a period characterized by migration, in which the everyday lives of so many children were marked by mobility and instability, and a frequent need to renegotiate social norms.

Cite this Record

Growing up on the move: childhood experience in the Viking Age. Dawn Hadley. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403764)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;